Not particularly a critic for regional movies, yet with my understanding and grip on films, I would try comment the best I can potentially figure out and analyse the movie Kabali.
Quite contrary to the popular meaning of a Kabali, which distinctly refers to a stereotypical lower class person¬†¬† with a typical attire of a lungi, green belt, a vest and a handkerchief at the neck, Kabali-the movie shows the story of suited and booted don, or so to say the messiah of the downtrodden whose actions are in pursuit and dedication for the upliftment of the adversely affected and the betterment of the society.
Primarily set in the lands of Malaysia, it is set against the backdrop of a gangster, well, an aged one who fights for what is right and follows the path of his mentor, thereby discarding and castigating any business in any relation or proximity to drugs and prostituition while he fights tooth and nail against those who are involved in anything of such sort. While another gangster is pitted against him when Kabali tries to destroy and ruin his business in drugs, their battle carries the plot further.
The film opens with the release of Kabali (Rajinikanth), a gangster who returns from his two and a half decades of imprisonment following a gang war. He goes back to his people gunning for revenge¬† and with an acute desire to find out what actually happened to his then-pregnant wife, Rupa Devi (Radhika Apte) whom he had left fighting for life when he was arrested.
Like all the other gang movies, there are revenge kills and high speed action sequences which are a typical trade mark of Rajinikanth movies. Out of the truck load of action sequences in the movie, the holes in it couldn't remain unnoticed. While the action comprises of a major portion in the genre of this film, its action sequences with corpse piling up one onto the other looks more often than not as a caricature. The unintended laughter generated out of the audience from the scenes, getting the better of us has been the only entertainment throughout while as the movie progresses and things start getting weary with the emotional drama wrapped up in the stunts, it mostly puts you in a sleep mode.
This film has nothing new to say or offer, besides Rajinikanth playing his age. The movie is very jerky and at times one can feel as if the editor is trying to manage the sequential progression of the scenes. Though the movie stutters but the artful gesticulations which are signature physiognomies of Rajinikanth become the strength of the film ‚Äď Skilful hand movements, a sardonic smile at the corner of the lips and close up shots of Rajinikanth are reminiscent of his old action filled roles.
In this movie, the villains are two men called Tony Lee, (Taiwanese actor Winston Chao) and Veerasekar (Kishore) who in the absence of Rajinikanth aka Kabali have become the most powerful gangsters in the country, and are waiting to perish him the moment the yesteryear Don tries to open his wings. The main contention of fight between the two factions, the one with the protagonist and the antagonist, was the fact that Rajinikanth was stringently against drugs and prostitution whereas the Chinese counterpart intended to continue it as a part of their main business.
Rajinikanth is very well supported by Radhika Apte, who, plays the role of Rajinikanth‚Äôs wife and Dhansika who plays the role of his daughter. Though Radhika Apte has a small role but it is vital and portrayed brilliantly. Same is true for Dhanshika who has performed well and portrayed her role exquisitely.¬† Rajinikanth plays his age, with a grim, grey beard completing his look much better in still pictures rather than in movie. Talking of music, it is a saviour as it provides a momentary relief in this slow and dreary movie.
The climax, again is a let-down as it doesn't depict the emotions honestly. The performance of almost all the actors had a different wave length even in a single frame besides Rajnikanth who played a role much suitable to his age and that of a mature Don who restrains himself with all the humility before he goes all guns for his detractors. The film is engaging in parts and has lot of dull moments. No supporting actor is worth a mention except Radhika Apte and Dhansika. The main villain and his crew look crude, very amateurish and were a big disappointment.
In all the movie is a big let-down and the two stars which I have given are only for Rajinikanth's iconic personality as the story and the direction are sheer monotonous and mind-numbing.